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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  August 30, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> on this edition for saturday august 30: a promising new treatment for heart failure. the e.u. weighs additional sanctions against russia for its actions in ukraine. we'll have a report from kiev. and the islamic state, using social media to win recruits by promoting its savagery. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by:
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corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios in lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening. thanks for joining us. with thousands of russian troops now reportedly fighting ukrainian government forces in eastern ukraine, ukrainian president petro poroshenko appealed today for help from the west. and during a meeting with european union leaders in brussels, he warned that the crisis puts at "high risk" not only peace and stability in ukraine but throughout europe. >> i think we are very close to the point of no return. point of no return is full-scale war, which already happened in
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the territory controlled by separatists. >> sreenivasan: the western leaders are debating whether to impose a third round of more stringent sanctions against russia following its takeover of crimea and its more recent intervention. for more about the fighting in ukraine, we are joined now by alan cullison of the "wall street journal." he joins me via skype from kiev. alan, what can you tell us? what's the latest there this morning? the whole week we've been reporting on new incursions or invasions-- however you want to call them-- by russian troops to different part of ukraine. >> there are more details of more armor being poured in. the latest allegation is that an armored column that came in from russia flattened the town here at the border, ukrainian town. it's nothing that any of us can confirm since getting into that part of the battle zone is extremely dangerous. but basically, it's just a gradual escalation and
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overwhelming-- they say that the ukrainian troops are just facing overwhelming odds and so are being encircled or pushed back. >> sreenivasan: are there specific villages? are there specific areas right along the border who are feeling it more, who basically have no choice now? >> yes, there were-- basically, there are two battle fronts near the ukrainian border. one was-- one was near the ukrainian city of huhansk. the other was near donetsk. what happened this weeks was an armored column broke into ukraine in an area where there wasn't any rebel activity before which was clearly evidence there were russian forces doing this. that's the-- that's been the most catastrophic part of the week for the ukrainians. this new front that opened up in the south along the sea of azov,
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because the russian forces are moving along the coast and may be taking the town-- the port city of mariupol. >> sreenivasan: are there case where's ukrainians are retreating, either tactically or otherwise? >> yeah, they've been in retreat for about a week now. but more problematic for the ukrainians is that several of their groups have been surrounded and, of course, getting outlive, that is a consideration. there have been efforts to negotiate a deal, i believe, a trade for prisoners, and if the ukrainians would give up some prisoners, then the russians might let them out of encirclement and back do into their own territory. but, yeah, the ukrainians are taking a beating at this point. >> sreenivasan: how effective are-- some of the videos we've seen out of there of-- especially on the ukrainian independence day in the last week and a half or so, we saw
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that there were actually the separatist forces were parading ukrainian soldiers through the streets. is that kind of a message getting out to wider ukraine, that this is an active war, that there are prisoners of war? >> well, i think, at least in ukraine, it's been clear that they've been at war for quite a while. they've been trying to send that message to people. i think that the effect of the prisoner parade on ukraine was that it polarized people even more. i mean, some want to fight harder. others are also-- it's just arousing enormous animosity towards those in the east who are fighting against them, and it's going to make peacemaking a lot more difficult. although, there are those ukrainians who, if the fatigue sets in, and if they are-- if this war continues for a long time, they might develop a
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attitude that they're just a different people over there who are so hostile, that they just don't want them to be part of ukraine. >> sreenivasan: what about the idea that ukraine is essentially called out a draft and wants men to enter into military service? >> well, i think mobilization is what most people expect. they've actually-- quite a few people have been asking why it haunhasn't happened yet. it's something that the leadership has been eye don't know exactly-- it's hard to say why they've held off on it. i think that they were hoping that there would be a negotiated solution, and they were actually quite optimistic about defeating the rebels up until about a week, week and a half agoing, when they said that a lot of troops and armor started moving into the country. >> sreenivasan: all right alan cullison of the "wall street journal," thanks so much. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: former undersecretary of state nicholas
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burns will join us to discuss american options in ukraine right after the news summary. near the golan heights, along the border between israel and syria, 32 united nations peacekeepers from the philippines came under fire from islamic militants before being brought to safety. later in the day, u.n. armored vehicles were observed returning to their base in israeli- controlled territory. more than 40 other peacekeepers from fiji are still surrounded by islamists in syria and are reported to be under mortar and heavy machine gunfire. the king of saudi arabia is warning of terror attacks in europe and the united states before the end of the year unless the international community moves swiftly to confront the islamic state. in comments to foreign ambassadors yesterday, king abdullah said, quoting now, "i am certain that after a month they will reach europe, and, after another month, america." yesterday, britain raised its terror threat level to severe, meaning it considers an attack highly likely but not imminent. from monrovia, the capital of the west african country of liberia, word that a quarantine put into place 11 days ago to try to contain the outbreak of ebola has been lifted. residents living in the affected
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area had feared running out of food and water. ebola has killed more than 1,500 people so far, and, the world health organization said the number of cases rose last week at the fastest pace since the outbreak began five months ago. promising medical news tonight. an experimental drug made by novartis lowers the chance of death or hospitalization from heart failure by 20%. the drug works in part by dilating blood vessels, enabling the heart to pump more effectively. the company will seek approval of the still unnamed drug by the end of the year in this country. the results, published today in the "new england journal of medicine," were obtained during a study involving more than 8,500 people in 47 countries. the study was cut short by several months because the results were so promising. california lawmakers have passed a bill that would make the state the first in the nation to prohibit supermarkets, liquor stores, pharmacies and other businesses from using plastic bags. environmentalists say plastic bags are rarely recycled and often end up in the ocean, harming sea life. governor jerry brown must still
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sign the bill into law. in another matter, brown's administration is appealing june's court ruling which effectively banned tenure for teachers in that state. the court had ruled that the state's tenure system violated the state's constitution by denying some of california's six million students a quality education. republican leaders criticized the brown administration's decision to appeal. the state says the judge had failed to spell out adequate legal grounds for his decision. a federal court in texas has struck down major parts of a law that would have restricted abortions in that state. the law, which was to have gone into effect monday, would have required abortion clinics to meet hospital building standards, like widening hallways, before conducting additional procedures. the judge said the law would have placed an undue burden on women in part because some women would have had to travel 500 miles to get an abortion. and the rare intact skeletal remains of a man thought to have lived more than 6,000 years ago
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have gone on display at the penn museum in philadelphia. the remains were first discovered in 1930 in what is now southern iraq, but sat in storage in the museum's basement ever since. they were found in an unmarked box only after the museum started digitizing its collection and couldn't account for the item. >> sreenivasan: returning now to the crisis in ukraine. for more perspective about what options the united states and its western allies have to deal with the russian military intervention there, we are joined now via skype from westport, massachusetts, by nicholas burns. he is a former undersecretary of state and now a professor at the harvard kennedy school of government. thanks for joining us. so what should the west's role be here? what's the appropriate balance between diplomacy and military action? >> well, hari, this is a major
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turning point in the crise because president putin has now put russian soldiers, russian mechanized equipment over the border into ukraine. they've encircled the ukrainian military and turned the tide of this law in an outright violation of international law. i think the west has three options ahead of it and it laib very importantinateol summit meeting next week in wales to consider this. number one-- stronger sanctions against the russian government and the russian economy. and this will mean very severe financial sanctions, the kind of sanctions that will really drive up the cost to president putin for what he has done. second, the ukrainian government is asking for sophisticated arms transfertransfers from europe ae united states, and intelligence support so they can fight back and control their own territory. i think president obama's been very clear, and rightly so, the united states is not going to go to war with russia over ukraine, but certainly we have an interest in helping the ukrainians to defend themselves and defend their territory, and,
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third, continued economic support, and here the europeans should take the lead, led by germany, because the ukrainian economy, as you know, is faltering and it needs a dramatic infusion of western capital. >> sreenivasan: is there any reason to believe these sanctions will work? we've imposed some sanctions on russia and so have the europeans. it just seems they've escalated now into a sanctions war. >> it's really the only pressure point that the west has right now because, again, we've rightly given up the alternative of war. it doesn't make sense legally or politically for us to tangle with the russian government. we're two nuclear weapons countries. so it's really the russian economy that's vulnerable. the russian economy is very much integrated, particularly with the european economy. it it depends on infusions of international capital. it depend on manufactured imports from europe, especially, and if europeans will agree to substantial financial sanctions, much stronger than the first two rounds of sanctions over the
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last five months, that will be the best way to get putin's attention and to show him, demonstrate to him, that there's a real cost for what he's done in violating international law in the way he's done so. >> sreenivasan: if we begin arps transfers, are we essentially engaging in the equivalent of a proxy war against russia? >> no, we're simply helping a friendly country. and ukraine, for the last 15 years, has been a friendly country to the nato allies, including the united states. we're helping that country defend itself, protect its periods, police its streets, take back two big cities, donetsk, and luhansk, critical for the survival of an integrated ukraine. and i think the reason to do so, hari, the principle at stake here is so important. at the end of the cold war, we achieved a democratic piece with europe, something europe had not been for centuries. that's now all at risk because putin very cynically is using force to divide countries and draw new dividing lines in
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europe. it's that important that the united states and the west europeans get engaged here, and next week's going to be an important week. we'll know the answer. >> sreenivasan: so how consequential is ukraine's attempt to join nato, and how long would that process take? >> you know, ukraine has been a partner of nato since the late 1990s. it's not at all realistic that ukraine will become a member of nato. can hope to be a part america continue to be a part never nato to work with it but i think what the ukraines need and want most, hari is not nato mean. they want to trade relationship with a european union. they won't be a member of the european union any time soon as well. but they need the trade. they need the capital investment. they need the economic assistance that some kind of association, a partnership of association with the european union would have. and remember, president putin's invasion of crimea, and everything he's done was precipitated by the fact that the ukrainians were threatening
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a trade agreement with the european union. he is that paranoid about states along his periphery, looking west as opposed to east. >> sreenivasan: what about this idea of novo russia, something the russians have said, sure, we'll stop all of this if we can just go ahead and annex this portion of ukraine back. it seems whether we like it or not they've already sent the trooppedz in and are in fact taking over that part of ukraine. >> it's a very unsettling and destabilizing concept that you say we have a right as russians to unite all the russians outside the borders of russia. there are significant russian populations, of course, in ukraine. but also in moldavia, belarus, kazakhstan and u.s. beck stan. should we support the russian governmentee right to march into those countries, take over portions of those countries simply because ethnic russians are living there? this is an inexact comparison, of course. but that was essentially the
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philosophy of the nazi paert in germany in the 1930, that they would unite the germans. it's a very dangerous, destabilizing concept. we vowed after the second world war we would not allow that kind of action in europe, and here it is with president piewt win his new russia concept, which is dangerous, and it deserves it. it needs to be opposed by the united states and the west europeans. >> sreenivasan: all right, nicholas burns, thanks very much for your time. >> thank you. >> keep up with the day's news in real time. read newshour's rundown blog at >> sreenivasan: the islamic state has entered our consciousness for multiple reasons. partly for the savagery they're willing to commit, and also because of the savvy they display in spreading their message. for some analysis, yesterday i spoke with shadi hamid of the brookings institution and author of "temptations of power: islamists and illiberal
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democracy in a new middle east," and philip smythe a researcher at the university of maryland and blogger at hizballah cavalcade who studies islamic extremism. shadi hamid, compare these guys to al qaeda. it seems that we were almost better off getting these grainy videotapes from osama bin laden out of a cave, compared to what we're seeing today. >> so, isis are quite advanced in their market, and media strategy. they've been very active on twitter. and for those of us on the outside trying to follow them, you can actually engage with some of these people on twitter and they're actively tweeting about somewhat mundane things. there was actually a twitter meme where yi fighters were eating up jars of nutella. on the other hand you see very savage things like beheadings. there is a strange duality, a schizophrenia that they're showing this dark, brutal side, but they're also trying to show, at least as they might see it, a more humane side to western audiences. we're not going to buy that as
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americans, but for people who are potentially sympathetic or fence-sitters, seeing those images can actually be appeal. >> sreenivasan: philip smyth, it seems in the past it was guys holding machine guns in the backdrop of a video. "this is how tough i am." it seems now the bar sihave to be holding a human head in an instagram. >> we've seen stuff like this before. it's not really that new. it's the platforms being utilizeed. twitter, instagram, facebook. there is direct outreach to the people they wish to recruit and the people they wish to influence. >> sreenivasan: why is this escalation? is it an escalation of the savagery? do the groups peel like there's no other alternative? why go to these treme exrooems nou? >> one thing yi wants to do is instill terror in the heartses of their opens. say the iraqi army or syrian army see images of beheadings and mass executions, they think
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to themselves if they get caught by isis fighters, that's what will happen to them. so that really hurts the morale of anyone who is trying to fight isis, and we saw that in a very striking fashion with the iraqi army. isis was going into mosul with a much smaller number of fighters, but the iraqi army just essentially dissolved. and part of it is because they were hearing all these stories about the military prowess and the savagery of the isis fighters. so it does really have an impact on the battle field. >> sreenivasan: philip smyth, he mentioned earlier, kind of almost a hijacking of conversations. they're not trying to hijack aircraft. they're trying to get into the consciousness of people talking about anything from nurks nutelo the ice bucket challenge. >> if you're trying to cast a narrative, you want to look sometimes as average as possible. if somebody is trying to recruit me, they're going to want to interact with me, like they're a friend, like-- even like how
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we're talking now. it's probably one of the best ways to get in and influence somebody's mind. >> sreenivasan: so some of this is coming into or across our radars because these people understand english. we've had this larger conversation of westerners becoming radicalized but it's also because they know the difference of what the west is talking about. >> so there's an important distinction here. the head of the islamic state, it's not as if he himself is tweeting or any of the other senior figures around him. we're talking about the younger fighters on the ground, many of whom are english speak and many of whom are european, feign few that are american. so for them, they grew up with twitter. they grew up with instagram, and twitter is about something you just do-- do during the day. so they go on the battle field. there's been a big fight. their instinct is to tweet about that. >> sreenivasan: the influence of kind of american speakers-- or i should say english speakers throughout the western world participating in this conversation, how important is that to the recruitment of others? >> it's extremely important.
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if one of your attacker audiences, if their sole language is english, then it's necessary to bring them in as foreign fighters. but it's not simply that. as an annualit, i also have interacted with isis supporters and they will try to influence materials that comes out of other areas. they will understand. this is kind of a full-spectrum approach, if you will, to spread their narrative or influence other people on the web. >> sreenivasan: for example, the state department now is kind of engaged inrying to battle this conversation with hashtags of their own, trying to-- is that successful at all? >> so the state department actually has a twitter account focused on countering some of these jihadis and extremists online and specifically on twitter. it's hard to say how effective that is. perhaps it's better than doing nothing. but we shouldn't kind of delude ourselveses into thinking that public diplomacy can really change people's minds in a very
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obvious way. the american government doesn't have a lot of credibility with anyone who is going to be vaguely sympathetic to the aims of the islamic state. so it's not just a problem of message but also the messenger. >> sreenivasan: does the u.s. government have not just any street credibility but have any chance at trying to intercept that messaging, that the islamic state seems to be pretty successful with? >> in terms of recruitment, we do spend billions of dollars a year on the nsa, which i would assume monitors quite a pit of this traffic. but in terms of kind of countering the propaganda, it's always good to have what's called troalz. is people do have their own troalz. they'll harass the american government accounts and other analysts' accounts and sometimes it's good for a little push-back to show the united states is watching and occasionally it can also poke at them. >> sreenivasan: all right, philip smyth, shadi hamid, thanks so much for your time.
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>> this is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> sreenivasan: and now to viewers like you. we heard from many of you about last saturday's signature report on the accuracy of background checks jack devine wrote us: "i have been in business for myself for 25 years. once you hire a person, you become responsible for everything that individual does while working for you. background checks can save you a lot of trouble and money. trouble caused by dishonest people you hire." frances helfand had this to say: "background checks- as in criminal background- are very important for those entrusted with caring for vulnerable people and perhaps animals. i am strongly opposed to credit checks and other highly personal inquiries that invade an individual's right to privacy." leigh griffith told us: "i had a d.w.i. when i was 17. i am now 45. i still note it on my application as i am afraid they would find it in a background check and that would disqualify
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me for the position. but do they disqualify me automatically because i admit i had a d.w.i.? impossible to know." jackie ryan offered this: "me and my husband both have criminal records. we are law abiding citizens who have paid the price for our crimes. however, we will never be able to get better than manual labor jobs due to discrimination." but johnny medina had a different take: "considering that i have been hampered by this for years, i can speak on it. yes, it is okay. i brought this trouble on myself." then there are cases like kevin jones, who, as we reported, lost a job offer because he was mistaken for another kevin jones. beverly marler sowa wrote: "google your name and see how many people with the same name show up. the chances of mixing you up with someone else are huge." as always, let us know what you think of our stories on twitter, facebook or at
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>> sreenivasan: some more news before we leave you tonight. hundreds of people marched peacefully through the streets of ferguson, missouri, to a makeshift memorial honoring michael brown. michael sam, who was set to become the first openly gay player in the national football league, was released by the st. louis rams today. and kraft is recalling 8,000 cases of american singles, which expire in february of 2015. the company says they were stored improperly and could make people sick. more details on our web site. i'm hari sreenivasan, thanks for watching. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> the graduation recital is probably the biggest performance you give at curtis while you are there. , i was lucky enough that this is you get to do a recital of anything you want, and i said ok, these are the pieces i want to play. >> the greats of tomorrow, today on stage at curtis. ♪ >> the poulenc sonata is a piece that's not played as often as it should be, i think. it is a piece that either people won't know it or they know it and they love it. it is a piece write


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